Online financial company PayPal said it will no longer be a sponsor of the Suns should Robert Sarver remain owner of the franchise.
Sarver has been suspended by the NBA for one season and fined $10 million following an investigation into workplace misconduct.
“In light of the findings of the NBA’s investigation, we will not renew our sponsorship should Robert Sarver remain involved with the Suns organization, after serving his suspension,” PayPal wrote in a release.
PayPal, a sponsor of the Phoenix Suns, released a statement on the Robert Sarver situation:
"In light of the findings of the NBA's investigation, we will not renew our sponsorship should Robert Sarver remain involved with the Suns organization, after serving his suspension." pic.twitter.com/JanBRkiPUq
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) September 16, 2022
Suns vice chairman and minority owner Sam Garvin will serve as the team’s controlling owner during the one-year ban of Robert Sarver, per Baxter Holmes of ESPN.
Per the Suns website, Garvin “launched his own mail-in rebate and consumer promotions company at age 25, (and) is in his 11th season as vice chairman of the Suns after purchasing interest in the club in June 2004.
“The self-made entrepreneur founded Scottsdale-based Continental Promotion Group in 1989 and its business grew to over $1 billion in annual gross revenues and attracted over 500 blue-chip marketers worldwide. As chairman and chief executive officer from 1989-2005, he managed over 1,200 associates, and organized and executed consumer and trade promotions for Dell, Nestle, Henkel, Costco, BT (British Telecom), HP, Motorola, Disney and Eli Lilly on a global scale.”
Sarver recently released a statement on the NBA’s suspension. It read in part as follows:
“Good leadership requires accountability. For the Suns and Mercury organizations, that begins with me. While I disagree with some of the particulars of the NBA’s report, I would like to apologize for my words and actions that offended our employees. I take full responsibility for what I have done. I am sorry for causing this pain, and these errors in judgment are not consistent with my personal philosophy or my values.
“I accept the consequences of the NBA’s decision. This moment is an opportunity for me to demonstrate a capacity to learn and grow as we continue to build a working culture where every employee feels comfortable and valued.
“I am extraordinarily proud of the Suns and Mercury organizations and the record we have built concerning diversity, inclusion, and giving back to the community. It means a great deal to me that our dedicated and hardworking employees have made Phoenix a basketball destination – for both players and fans.”
The NBA detailed Sarver’s infractions in a press release. Per the league:
“Mr. Sarver on at least five occasions during his tenure with the Suns/Mercury organization repeated the N-word when recounting the statements of others. Mr. Sarver engaged in instances of inequitable conduct toward female employees, made many sex-related comments in the workplace made inappropriate comments about the physical appearance of female employees and other women and on several occasions engaged in inappropriate physical conduct toward male employees. Mr. Sarver engaged in demeaning and harsh treatment of employees including by yelling and cursing at them.”
The NBA today issued the following statement: pic.twitter.com/jjlBK771PT
— NBA Communications (@NBAPR) September 13, 2022
Sarver was also fined $10 million as part of the investigation. Per the league, Sarver also cannot do any of the following in 2022-23:
“Be present at any NBA or WNBA team facility, including any office arena or practice facility.
“Attend or participate in any NBA or WNBA event or activity including games practices, or business partner activity.
“Represent the Suns or Mercury in any public or private capacity.
“Have any involvement with the business or basketball operations of the Suns or Mercury.
“Have any involvement in the business governance or activities of either the NBA or WNBA, including attending or participating in meetings of either league’s Board (and their associated Board committees).”